According to the syllabus, “MATH 215 gives students a working knowledge and understanding of descriptive and inferential statistics and how statistics is applied in the sciences, social sciences, and business.” It has no prerequisites; however, “fundamental mathematical skills are required, such as the ability to solve equations, knowledge of graphs and how to interpret them, problem-solving skills, and particularly the ability to do algebra.” If you are concerned about your math skills, “MATH 100 (a non-credit course) is suitable preparation.” There is also a “Mathematics Diagnostic Assessment that contains 70 questions that help potential students assess their mathematical skills.”

Introduction to Statistics has six assignments each covering one of the six units. The first unit, “Descriptive Statistics,” covers topics such as “population and sample data, types of variables and the nature of statistical data, organizing and graphing quantitative data, how to calculate the mean, variance, and standard deviation, and how to properly analyze and use that data.” The second unit, “Probability,” includes “experiments and their outcomes, determining probabilities in three conceptual approaches, the multiplication rule, the addition rule, and counting rule, factorials, and combinations.” The third unit, “Probability Distributions,” heavily covers different types of probability distributions and binomial distributions. The fourth unit, “Estimation and Tests of Hypotheses for One Population,” covers “mean and standard deviation of the sampling distribution of the sample mean, shape of the sampling distribution, estimation of a population mean when the population standard deviation is known and unknown, and hypothesis testing.” Unit five, “Estimation and Tests of Hypotheses for Two or More Populations,” expands on the use of hypotheses testing with having a difference between two population means. Lastly, unit six, “Bivariate Analysis,” covers simple linear regression analysis and linear correlation.” This course has one midterm exam that covers the first three units, and one final exam that covers the last three units. A single, double sided, 8 ½ x 11 inch “Key Concepts and Formulas” sheet and a scientific, non-programmable calculator can be brought to the midterm exam and the final exam.

Eric Goodman, one of the eleven MATH 215 tutors, has a B.A. with distinction in mathematics and a M.Sc. in mathematical statistics. Goodman adds, “my work experience has been as a Lecturer with the Faculty of Business at U. of A., Statistician with the Socio-Economic Survey Methods Division of Statistics Canada in Ottawa, Instructor in the School of Business at NAIT, and tutor for Athabasca University. I have been with AU since 1978 and have tutored MATH 215 since that time.” On a more personal level, Goodman is “married, with two grown children, and three grandchildren.” He enjoys “cooking and has been a dedicated Ashtanga Yoga practitioner for many years.” Goodman states, “a strong work ethic and frequent contact with the tutor is usually sufficient to overcome most obstacles that students may encounter.”

When requesting feedback from students, they had a mixture of opinions. Miranda was the first to comment, stating “I really enjoyed the course, though I do consider myself a math person and found it relatively easy. The assignments were just like the examples in the text and using the formula sheet provided was very helpful. I would definitely recommend this course unless you despise math!” Chris Brooks may be among those who despises math, as he says, “I am not a math person, though because I am taking a psychology degree it is mandatory. I understood some of its relevance; however, the lack of help from the tutor was extremely disappointing. When I asked for help I was denied that help from my tutor, as the question was regarding an assignment. When the course consists of assignments and tests, why could the tutor not help? It was not a good experience at all.” Linda Yao then stated “I found the course to be very straightforward but still time consuming. The tutor was fast with replies, which was nice!”

Lastly, Kym Edinborough-Capuska added their opinion of the course, stating “as a person who has not taken a math class in about 30 years, I found it challenging. That said, the textbook and the course layout were excellent. By doing the course in the suggested way and watching recommended YouTube videos, I found myself liking the course more by the end. My tutor was exceptional, marked assignments the same day they were submitted and replied to all my inquiries within a few hours. If all my courses were as well executed as this one I would be a much happier student.”

Additionally, for those students interested in MATH 215 who live in or near Edmonton, AU has just announced that they will be offering the course in-classroom at AU’s Peace Hills Trust location. It will be offered on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., beginning January 3^{rd}, 2018 and finishing near the end of April. Registration is open now; however, the deadline to register is November 27^{th}, 2017. The AU website has more information on where to register.

Regardless of the feedback and whether MATH 215 is one of your program required courses or just a general interest of yours, the probability is high that you will enjoy it! MATH 215, take a chance on it!